Chicago native leads nation in rushing, total offense
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (Chicago/Mt. Carmel) was named to CBSSports.com All-America Team, earning third team honors, behind Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and Collin Klein (Kansas State).
Lynch finished the regular season as the nation’s leader in rushing (1,771) and total offense (4,753).
In his first season as a starter, the junior commanded the NIU offense, helping the Huskies to a 12-1 record and the Mid-American Conference’s first ever Bowl Championship Series berth, the Discover Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day. Northern Illinois currently owns the nation’s longest winning streak (12 games), the longest conference winning streak (17 games) and the longest home-winning streak (21 games).
During his 13 starts, Lynch completed 222-of-353 (62.9 percent) passes for 2,962 yards with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
In the last nine games, he owns a touchdown to interception ratio of 17-2. He is the FBS leader in rushing yards with 1,771 yards on 271 carries with 19 touchdowns. Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in 12-of-13 games this year, including a NCAA FBS quarterback record 11-straight games, snapping the old record of five games.
At Ford Field during the MAC Championship game versus No. 18 Kent State, Lynch broke the NCAA FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, surpassing the old record held by Michigan’s Denard Robinson (1,702). In the 44-37 victory that clinched the Huskies trip to the BCS, he amassed 372 yards of total offense (212 passing, 160 rushing) and four touchdowns (three rushing).
The performance by Lynch last Friday marked the fourth time this season he reached the 150-yard passing and 150-yard rushing mark in the same game. The feat has been accomplished five times this season by five other quarterbacks, including Manziel, Klein, Robinson, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Rice’s Tyler McHargue.
With one more rushing touchdown this season, Lynch will become only the fourth quarterback in FBS history to rush and throw for 20-or-more touchdowns in a single season, joining former Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow (2006), Cam Newton (2010) and former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick (2010).
Prior to the showdown with the Golden Flashes, the Chicago native was named the Vern Smith Leadership Award winner, given to the MAC’s Most Valuable Player. Lynch became the sixth Huskie in the last seven seasons to win the Vern Smith Award.
Aside from the MAC Championship game, Lynch’s biggest performance of the year came during NIU’s contest with division rival Toledo, when he became the first player in FBS history to pass for over 400 yards and rush for 150 in the same game. He finished the night with 407 yards on 25-of-36 passing and ran for 166 yards on 30 carries in the Huskies’ 31-24 win over the Rockets.
No. 15 Northern Illinois and Lynch will meet No. 11 Florida State in the Orange Bowl with a 7 p.m. Central kickoff at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on ESPN.
Tickets for the Discover Orange Bowl start at $75 and can be purchased on online or by calling 815-753-1923. Travel packages that include three nights at the team hotel, airfare, hospitality and transportation are also available, starting as low as $644.
All NIU students can receive one free ticket to the game, which must be picked up in Miami. Visit the NIU Ticket Office at the Convocation Center to reserve one today.